Matisyahu, the reggae rapper who brought Orthodox Judaism to mainstream music, revealed to the Twitterverse yesterday that he shaved off his trademark beard. The Internet seemed a little confused: Had Matisyahu left Judaism all together?
“No more Chassidic reggae superstar,” Matisyahu, born Matthew Paul Miller, wrote on his Web site. “Sorry folks, all you get is me … no alias.”
The musician, best known for his hit “King Without a Crown,” explained that he once thought he needed rules “to become a good person,” but said he is now “reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.”
“Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth,” he wrote. “And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry … you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.”
But confusion over Matisyahu’s faith still lingered after he released the statement. One commenter on his Web site wrote, “As a huge fan of your music and your personal voyage, I’m pretty confused right now.” Another said, “I am so sad that you did this. ... I can’t even breathe.”
The musician then sent a tweet saying that he had visited a synagogue as usual: “For all of those who are being awesome, you are awesome. For all those who are confused: today I went to the Mikva and Shul just like yesterday.”
See Matisyahu’s beardless face below.